RALEIGH, N.C. – May 13, 2019 – Merz Americas announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) for Xeomin (incobotulinumtoxinA), broadening its indication to be a first-line treatment of blepharospasm (involuntary blinking) in adult patients.
“Merz is proud to offer a first-line treatment option for blepharospasm, a devastating condition that has no cure and affects up to 50,000 patients in the U.S.,”1 said Kevin O’Brien, Vice President and U.S. Head of Neurosciences, Merz. “This milestone, along with the July 2018 approval of Xeomin for the treatment of chronic sialorrhea (drooling) in adults, reinforces our commitment to providing comprehensive care for patients living with movement disorders.”
Blepharospasm causes muscles around the eyes to contract involuntarily. Patients suffering from blepharospasm can experience symptoms including excessive blinking, light sensitivity, dry eyes, eye irritation and watering eyes, and symptoms may worsen over time.1,2
The approval is based on a Phase 3, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center trial in a total of 61 treatment-naïve patients who had a diagnosis of blepharospasm with a baseline Jankovic Rating Scale (JRS) Severity subscore ≥2. JRS is the most commonly used clinical scale to measure severity and frequency of blepharospasm.Patients were defined as treatment-naïve if at least 12 months had passed since their last toxin treatment.
The primary efficacy endpoint was the change from baseline in JRS Severity subscore determined at week 6 after the Xeomin injection. The 50 unit treatment group demonstrated statistically significant improvement compared to placebo, with a difference of -1.2 (p=0.0004). The safety findings were similar to previous studies and in line with the known safety profile of Xeomin.
Xeomin was first approved by the FDA in 2010 for the treatment of blepharospasm (previously treated with onabotulinumtoxinA) and cervical dystonia in adult patients and later in 2015 for upper limb spasticity in adult patients. Most recently, Xeomin was approved by the FDA in July 2018 to treat chronic sialorrhea (excessive drooling) in adult patients.
1. “Benign Essential Blepharospasm.” National Institutes of Health, USA.gov, 28 Aug. 2018, ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/benign-essential-blepharospasm#statistics. Last accessed May, 10 2019.
2. Tsui JKC. Blepharospasm and hemifacial spasm. In: Brin MF, Comella C, Jankovic J, eds. Dystonia: Etiology, Clinical Features, and Treatment. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2004:151-157.
May 06, 2019 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Ruzurgi (amifampridine) tablets for the treatment of Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS) in patients 6 years to less than 17 years of age. This is the first FDA approval of a treatment specifically for pediatric patients with LEMS. The only other treatment approved for LEMS is only approved for use in adults.
“We continue to be committed to facilitating the development and approval of treatments for rare diseases, particularly those in children,” said Billy Dunn, M.D., director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “This approval will provide a much-needed treatment option for pediatric patients with LEMS who have significant weakness and fatigue that can often cause great difficulties with daily activities.”
LEMS is a rare autoimmune disorder that affects the connection between nerves and muscles and causes weakness and other symptoms in affected patients. In people with LEMS, the body’s own immune system attacks the neuromuscular junction (the connection between nerves and muscles) and disrupts the ability of nerve cells to send signals to muscle cells. LEMS may be associated with other autoimmune diseases, but more commonly occurs in patients with cancer such as small cell lung cancer, where its onset precedes or coincides with the diagnosis of cancer. LEMS can occur at any age. The prevalence of LEMS specifically in pediatric patients is not known, but the overall prevalence of LEMS is estimated to be three per million individuals worldwide.
Use of Ruzurgi in patients 6 to less than 17 years of age is supported by evidence from adequate and well-controlled studies of the drug in adults with LEMS, pharmacokinetic data in adult patients, pharmacokinetic modeling and simulation to identify the dosing regimen in pediatric patients and safety data from pediatric patients 6 to less than 17 years of age.
The effectiveness of Ruzurgi for the treatment of LEMS was established by a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled withdrawal study of 32 adult patients in which patients were taking Ruzurgi for at least three months prior to entering the study. The study compared patients continuing on Ruzurgi to patients switched to placebo. Effectiveness was measured by the degree of change in a test that assessed the time it took the patient to rise from a chair, walk three meters, and return to the chair for three consecutive laps without pause. The patients that continued on Ruzurgi experienced less impairment than those on placebo. Effectiveness was also measured with a self-assessment scale for LEMS-related weakness that evaluated the feeling of weakening or strengthening. The scores indicated greater perceived weakening in the patients switched to placebo.
The most common side effects experienced by pediatric and adult patients taking Ruzurgi were burning or prickling sensation (paresthesia), abdominal pain, indigestion, dizziness and nausea. Side effects reported in pediatric patients were similar to those seen in adult patients. Seizures have been observed in patients without a history of seizures. Patients should inform their health care professional immediately if they have signs of hypersensitivity reactions such as rash, hives, itching, fever, swelling or trouble breathing.
The FDA granted this application Priority Review and Fast Track designations. Ruzurgi also received Orphan Drug designation, which provides incentives to assist and encourage the development of drugs for rare diseases.
The FDA granted the approval of Ruzurgi to Jacobus Pharmaceutical Company, Inc.
May 01, 2019 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today the approval of Dengvaxia, the first vaccine approved for the prevention of dengue disease caused by all dengue virus serotypes (1, 2, 3 and 4) in people ages 9 through 16 who have laboratory-confirmed previous dengue infection and who live in endemic areas. Dengue is endemic in the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“Dengue disease is the most common mosquito-borne viral disease in the world and global incidence has increased in recent decades,” said Anna Abram, FDA deputy commissioner for policy, legislation, and international affairs. “The FDA is committed to working proactively with our partners at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as international partners, including the World Health Organization, to combat public health threats, including through facilitating the development and availability of medical products to address emerging infectious diseases. While there is no cure for dengue disease, today’s approval is an important step toward helping to reduce the impact of this virus in endemic regions of the United States.”
The CDC estimates more than one-third of the world’s population is living in areas at risk for infection by dengue virus which causes dengue fever, a leading cause of illness among people living in the tropics and subtropics. The first infection with dengue virus typically results in either no symptoms or a mild illness that can be mistaken for the flu or another viral infection. A subsequent infection can lead to severe dengue, including dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), a more severe form of the disease that can be fatal. Symptoms may include stomach pain, persistent vomiting, bleeding, confusion and difficulty breathing. Approximately 95 percent of all severe/hospitalized cases of dengue are associated with second dengue virus infection. Because there are no specific drugs approved for the treatment of dengue disease, care is limited to the management of symptoms.
Each year, an estimated 400 million dengue virus infections occur globally according to the CDC. Of these, approximately 500,000 cases develop into DHF, which contributes to about 20,000 deaths, primarily among children. Although dengue cases are rare in the continental U.S., the disease is regularly found in American Samoa, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands.
“Infection by one type of dengue virus usually provides immunity against that specific serotype, but a subsequent infection by any of the other three serotypes of the virus increases the risk of developing severe dengue disease, which may lead to hospitalization or even death,” said Peter Marks, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “As the second infection with dengue is often much more severe than the first, the FDA’s approval of this vaccine will help protect people previously infected with dengue virus from subsequent development of dengue disease.”
The safety and effectiveness of the vaccine was determined in three randomized, placebo-controlled studies involving approximately 35,000 individuals in dengue-endemic areas, including Puerto Rico, Latin America and the Asia Pacific region. The vaccine was determined to be approximately 76 percent effective in preventing symptomatic, laboratory-confirmed dengue disease in individuals 9 through 16 years of age who previously had laboratory-confirmed dengue disease. Dengvaxia has already been approved in 19 countries and the European Union.
The most commonly reported side effects by those who received Dengvaxia were headache, muscle pain, joint pain, fatigue, injection site pain and low-grade fever. The frequency of side effects was similar across Dengvaxia and placebo recipients and tended to decrease after each subsequent dose of the vaccine.
Dengvaxia is not approved for use in individuals not previously infected by any dengue virus serotype or for whom this information is unknown. This is because in people who have not been infected with dengue virus, Dengvaxia appears to act like a first dengue infection – without actually infecting the person with wild-type dengue virus – such that a subsequent infection can result in severe dengue disease.Therefore, health care professionals should evaluate individuals for prior dengue infection to avoid vaccinating individuals who have not been previously infected by dengue virus. This can be assessed through a medical record of a previous laboratory-confirmed dengue infection or through serological testing (tests using blood samples from the patient) prior to vaccination.
Dengvaxia is a live, attenuated vaccine that is administered as three separate injections, with the initial dose followed by two additional shots given six and twelve months later.
The FDA granted this application Priority Review and a Tropical Disease Priority Review Voucher under a program intended to encourage development of new drugs and biologics for the prevention and treatment of certain tropical diseases. The approval was granted to Sanofi Pasteur.
KENILWORTH, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved an expanded label for Keytruda, Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, as monotherapy for the first-line treatment of patients with stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who are not candidates for surgical resection or definitive chemoradiation, or metastatic NSCLC, and whose tumors express PD-L1 (tumor proportion score [TPS] ≥1%) as determined by an FDA-approved test, with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations. The approval is based on results from the Phase 3 KEYNOTE-042 trial, in which overall survival (OS) was sequentially tested as part of a pre-specified analysis plan. In the trial, Keytruda monotherapy demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in OS compared with chemotherapy alone in patients whose tumors expressed PD-L1 with a TPS ≥50%, with a TPS ≥20%, and then in the entire study population (TPS ≥1%).
“This expanded first-line indication now makes Keytruda monotherapy an option for more patients with non-small cell lung cancer, including those for whom combination therapy may not be appropriate,” said Dr. Jonathan Cheng, vice president, oncology clinical research, Merck Research Laboratories.
Immune-mediated adverse reactions, which may be severe or fatal, can occur with Keytruda, including pneumonitis, colitis, hepatitis, endocrinopathies, nephritis, severe skin reactions, solid organ transplant rejection, and complications of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Based on the severity of the adverse reaction, Keytruda should be withheld or discontinued and corticosteroids administered if appropriate. Keytruda can also cause severe or life-threatening infusion-related reactions. Based on its mechanism of action, Keytruda can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. For more information, see “Selected Important Safety Information” below.
“The KEYNOTE-042 trial demonstrated a survival benefit with Keytruda monotherapy across histologies in certain patients with stage III or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer whose tumors expressed PD-L1 in at least 1% of tumor cells,” said Dr. Gilberto Lopes, associate director for global oncology at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami. “As a practicing oncologist, having additional options available for patients is important in the rapidly evolving treatment landscape for lung cancer, which remains the leading cause of cancer death in the United States.”
Keytruda was the first anti-PD-1 therapy in metastatic NSCLC approved in the first-line setting as combination therapy or monotherapy.
The approval was based on data from the KEYNOTE-042 trial, a randomized, multi-center, open-label, active-controlled trial in patients with stage III NSCLC who were not candidates for surgical resection or definitive chemoradiation, or metastatic NSCLC, and whose tumors expressed PD-L1 (TPS ≥1%) and who had not received prior systemic treatment for metastatic NSCLC. Patients with EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations; autoimmune disease that required systemic therapy within two years of treatment; a medical condition that required immunosuppression; or who had received more than 30 Gy of radiation in the thoracic region within 26 weeks prior to initiation of study treatment were ineligible.
The study enrolled 1,274 patients who were randomized (1:1) to receive Keytruda 200 mg intravenously every three weeks (n=637) or investigator’s choice of either of the following chemotherapy regimens (n=637):
Pemetrexed 500 mg/m2 every three weeks and carboplatin AUC 5 to 6 mg/mL/min every three weeks on Day 1 for a maximum of six cycles followed by optional pemetrexed 500 mg/m2 every three weeks for patients with nonsquamous histologies; or
Paclitaxel 200 mg/m2 every three weeks and carboplatin AUC 5 to 6 mg/mL/min every three weeks on Day 1 for a maximum of six cycles followed by optional pemetrexed 500 mg/m2 every three weeks for patients with nonsquamous histologies
Treatment with Keytruda continued until RECIST v1.1 (modified to follow a maximum of 10 target lesions and a maximum of 5 target lesions per organ)-defined progression of disease, unacceptable toxicity, or a maximum of 24 months. The main efficacy outcome measure was OS in the subgroup of patients with TPS ≥50% NSCLC, the subgroup of patients with TPS ≥20% NSCLC, and the overall population with TPS ≥1% NSCLC. Additional efficacy outcome measures were progression-free survival (PFS) and overall response rate (ORR) in the subgroup of patients with TPS ≥50% NSCLC, the subgroup of patients with TPS ≥20% NSCLC, and the overall population with TPS ≥1% NSCLC as assessed by a blinded independent central radiologists’ (BICR) review according to RECIST v1.1, modified to follow a maximum of 10 target lesions and a maximum of five target lesions per organ.
Efficacy Results from KEYNOTE-042
200 mg every 3 weeks
200 mg every 3 weeks
Number of events (%)
Median in months (95% CI)
Hazard ratio (HR)* (95% CI)
Number of events (%)
Median in months (95% CI)
HR*,‡ (95% CI)
Objective Response Rate
ORR‡ (95% CI)
Complete response rate
Partial response rate
Duration of Response
% with duration ≥ 12 months¶
% with duration ≥ 18 months¶
* Based on the stratified Cox proportional hazard model
† Based on a stratified log-rank test; compared to a p-Value boundary of 0.0291 ‡ Not evaluated for statistical significance as a result of the sequential testing procedure for the secondary endpoints § Not significant compared to a p-Value boundary of 0.0291 ¶ Based on observed duration of response
The results of all efficacy outcome measures in the subgroup of patients with PD-L1 TPS ≥20% NSCLC were intermediate between the results of those with PD-L1 TPS ≥1% and those with PD-L1 TPS ≥50%. In a pre-specified exploratory subgroup analysis for patients with TPS 1-49% NSCLC, the median OS was 13.4 months (95% CI, 10.7-18.2) for the Keytruda group and 12.1 months (95% CI, 11.0-14.0) in the chemotherapy group, with an HR of 0.92 (95% CI, 0.77-1.11).
In KEYNOTE-042, the safety of Keytruda was investigated in patients with PD-L1 expressing, previously untreated stage III NSCLC who were not candidates for surgical resection or definitive chemoradiation, or metastatic NSCLC. Keytruda was discontinued for adverse reactions in 19% of 636 patients. The most common adverse reactions resulting in permanent discontinuation of Keytruda were pneumonitis (3.0%), death due to unknown cause (1.6%), and pneumonia (1.4%). Adverse reactions leading to interruption of Keytruda occurred in 33% of patients; the most common adverse reactions or laboratory abnormalities leading to interruption of Keytruda (≥2%) were pneumonitis (3.1%), pneumonia (3.0%), hypothyroidism (2.2%), and increased ALT (2.0%). The most frequent (≥2%) serious adverse reactions were pneumonia (7%), pneumonitis (3.9%), pulmonary embolism (2.4%), and pleural effusion (2.2%). The most common adverse reaction (≥20%) with Keytruda was fatigue (25%).
About Keytruda ® (pembrolizumab) Injection, 100mg
Keytruda is an anti-PD-1 therapy that works by increasing the ability of the body’s immune system to help detect and fight tumor cells. Keytruda is a humanized monoclonal antibody that blocks the interaction between PD-1 and its ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2, thereby activating T lymphocytes which may affect both tumor cells and healthy cells.
Merck has the industry’s largest immuno-oncology clinical research program. There are currently more than 950 trials studying Keytruda across a wide variety of cancers and treatment settings. The Keytruda clinical program seeks to understand the role of Keytruda across cancers and the factors that may predict a patient’s likelihood of benefitting from treatment with Keytruda, including exploring several different biomarkers.
Merck’s Focus on Cancer
Our goal is to translate breakthrough science into innovative oncology medicines to help people with cancer worldwide. At Merck, the potential to bring new hope to people with cancer drives our purpose and supporting accessibility to our cancer medicines is our commitment. As part of our focus on cancer, Merck is committed to exploring the potential of immuno-oncology with one of the largest development programs in the industry across more than 30 tumor types. We also continue to strengthen our portfolio through strategic acquisitions and are prioritizing the development of several promising oncology candidates with the potential to improve the treatment of advanced cancers. For more information about our oncology clinical trials, visit www.merck.com/clinicaltrials.
About the Merck Access Program for Keytruda
At Merck, we are committed to supporting accessibility to our cancer medicines. Merck provides multiple programs to help ensure that appropriate patients who are prescribed Keytruda have access to our anti-PD-1 therapy. The Merck Access Program provides reimbursement support for patients receiving Keytruda, including information to help with out-of-pocket costs and co-pay assistance for eligible patients. Merck also offers free product through our patient assistance program to eligible patients, primarily the uninsured, who, without our assistance, could not afford their medicine. More information is available by calling 855-257-3932 or visiting www.merckaccessprogram-keytruda.com.
About Merck’s Patient Support Program for Keytruda
Merck is committed to helping provide patients and their caregivers support throughout their treatment with Keytruda. The KEY+YOU Patient Support Program provides a range of resources and services. For further information and to sign up, patients and physicians may call 85-KEYTRUDA (855-398-7832) or visit www.keytruda.com.
For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and communities around the world – including cancer, cardio-metabolic diseases, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.
Forward-Looking Statement of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA
This news release of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA (the “company”) includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of the company’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. There can be no guarantees with respect to pipeline products that the products will receive the necessary regulatory approvals or that they will prove to be commercially successful. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.
Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; the company’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of the company’s patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.
The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in the company’s 2018 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site ( www.sec.gov ).
Please see Prescribing Information for Keytruda at http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/k/keytruda/keytruda_pi.pdf and Medication Guide for Keytruda at http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/k/keytruda/keytruda_mg.pdf .
April 12, 2019 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today granted accelerated approval to Balversa (erdafitinib), a treatment for adult patients with locally advanced or metastatic bladder cancer that has a type of susceptible genetic alteration known as FGFR3 or FGFR2, and that has progressed during or following prior platinum-containing chemotherapy. Patients should be selected for therapy with Balversa using an FDA-approved companion diagnostic device.
“We’re in an era of more personalized or precision medicine, and the ability to target cancer treatment to a patient’s specific genetic mutation or biomarker is becoming the standard, with advances being made in new disease types. Today’s approval represents the first personalized treatment targeting susceptible FGFR genetic alterations for patients with metastatic bladder cancer,” said Richard Pazdur, M.D., director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence and acting director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “FGFRs regulate important biological processes including cell growth and division during development and tissue repair. This drug works by targeting genetic alterations in FGFRs.”
The most common type of bladder cancer is transitional cell carcinoma, also called urothelial carcinoma. Bladder cancers are associated with genetic mutations that are present in the patient’s bladder or entire urothelium (the lining of the lower urinary tract). Bladder cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the United States. Fibroblast growth factor (FGFR) alterations are present in approximately one in five patients with recurrent and refractory bladder cancer.
The efficacy of Balversa was studied in a clinical trial that included 87 patients with locally advanced or metastatic bladder cancer, with FGFR3 or FGFR2 genetic alterations, that had progressed following treatment with chemotherapy. The overall response rate in these patients was 32.2%, with 2.3% having a complete response and almost 30% having a partial response. The response lasted for an average of approximately five-and-a-half months. About a quarter of patients in the study were previously treated with anti PD-L1/PD-1 therapy, which is a standard treatment for patients with locally advanced or metastatic bladder cancer. Responses to Balversa were seen in patients who had previously not responded to anti PD-L1/PD-1 therapy.
Common side effects reported by patients taking Balversa were increased phosphate level, mouth sores, feeling tired, change in kidney function, diarrhea, dry mouth, nails separating from the bed or poor formation of the nail, change in liver function, low salt (sodium) levels, decreased appetite, change in sense of taste, low red blood cells (anemia), dry skin, dry eyes and hair loss. Other side effects include redness, swelling, peeling or tenderness on the hands or feet (hand foot syndrome), constipation, stomach pain, nausea and muscle pain.
Balversa may cause serious eye problems, including inflamed eyes, inflamed cornea (front part of the eye) and disorders of the retina, an internal part of the eye. Patients are advised to have eye examinations intermittently and to tell their health care professional right away if they develop blurred vision, loss of vision or other visual changes. Health care professionals are advised to check patients’ blood phosphate level between 14 and 21 days after starting treatment and monthly, and to increase the dose Balversa in patients whose serum phosphate is below the target level.
Health care professionals are advised to tell male patients with female partners of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during treatment with Balversa and for one month after the last dose. Pregnancy testing is recommended for females of reproductive potential prior to initiating treatment with Balversa. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take Balversa because it may cause harm to a developing fetus or newborn baby. Balversa must be dispensed with a patient Medication Guide that describes important information about the drug’s uses and risks.
Balversa received an Accelerated Approval, which enables the FDA to approve drugs for serious conditions to fill an unmet medical need using clinical trial data that is thought to predict a clinical benefit to patients. Further clinical trials are required to confirm Balversa’s clinical benefit and the sponsor is conducting or plans to conduct these studies. Balversa was also granted Breakthrough Therapy designation.
The FDA granted the approval of Balversa to Janssen Pharmaceutical.
The FDA also approved the therascreen FGFR RGQ RT-PCR Kit, developed by QIAGEN Manchester, Ltd., for use as a companion diagnostic with Balversa for this therapeutic indication.
April 4, 2019 — Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) to expand the indications for Ibrance (palbociclib) in combination with an aromatase inhibitor or fulvestrant to include men with hormone receptor-positive (HR+), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HER2-) advanced or metastatic breast cancer. The approval is based on data from electronic health records and postmarketing reports of the real-world use of Ibrance in male patients sourced from three databases: IQVIA Insurance database, Flatiron Health Breast Cancer database and the Pfizer global safety database.
“With this approval, we are now able to offer Ibrance to the underserved male breast cancer community and provide more patients with HR+, HER2- metastatic breast cancer the opportunity to access an innovative medicine,” said Chris Boshoff, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Development Officer, Oncology, Pfizer Global Product Development. “We appreciate that our partnership with the FDA has allowed us to take a significant step forward in the use of real-world data to bring medicines to patients who are most in need.”
Ibrance is now approved for adult patients with HR+, HER2- advanced or metastatic breast cancer in combination with an aromatase inhibitor as initial endocrine based therapy in postmenopausal women or in men; or with fulvestrant in patients with disease progression following endocrine therapy. With today’s approval, Ibrance is the first and only CDK 4/6 inhibitor indicated in combination with an aromatase inhibitor for the first-line treatment of men with HR+, HER2- metastatic breast cancer in the U.S.
“Men with breast cancer have limited treatment options, making access to medicines such as Ibrance critically important,” said Bret Miller, founder of the Male Breast Cancer Coalition. “We applaud the use of real-world data, a new approach to drug review, to make Ibrance available to certain men with metastatic breast cancer and help address an unmet need for these patients.”
Real-world data is playing an increasingly important role in expanding the use of already approved innovative medicines.1 Due to the rarity of breast cancer in males, fewer clinical trials are conducted that include men resulting in fewer approved treatment options. In the U.S. in 2019, it is estimated that there will be 2,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer and about 500 deaths from metastatic breast cancer in males.2 The 21st Century Cures Act, enacted in 2016, was created to help accelerate medical product development, allowing new innovations and advances to become available to patients who need them faster and more efficiently.3 This law places additional focus on the use of real-world data to support regulatory decision-making.4
Detailed analysis of the use of Ibrance in men with HR+, HER2- advanced or metastatic breast cancer will be presented at an upcoming medical meeting. Based on limited data from postmarketing reports and electronic health records, the safety profile for men treated with Ibrance is consistent with the safety profile in women treated with Ibrance.5
About Ibrance (palbociclib) 125 mg capsules
Ibrance is an oral inhibitor of CDKs 4 and 6,6 which are key regulators of the cell cycle that trigger cellular progression.7,8 In the U.S., Ibrance is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with hormone receptor-positive (HR+), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HER2-) advanced or metastatic breast cancer in combination with an aromatase inhibitor as initial endocrine based therapy in postmenopausal women or in men; or with fulvestrant in patients with disease progression following endocrine therapy.
Ibrance currently is approved in more than 90 countries and has been prescribed to more than 200,000 patients globally.
About Pfizer Oncology
At Pfizer Oncology, we are committed to advancing medicines wherever we believe we can make a meaningful difference on the lives of patients. Today, Pfizer Oncology has an industry-leading portfolio of 18 approved innovative cancer medicines and biosimilars across more than 20 indications, including breast, prostate, kidney, lung and hematology. Pfizer Oncology is striving to change the trajectory of cancer.
Working together for a healthier world®
At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products. Our global portfolio includes medicines and vaccines as well as many of the world’s best-known consumer health care products. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world’s premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 150 years, we have worked to make a difference for all who rely on us. We routinely post information that may be important to investors on our website at www.pfizer.com. In addition, to learn more, please visit us on www.pfizer.com and follow us on Twitter at @Pfizer and @Pfizer_News, LinkedIn, YouTube, and like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Pfizer.
DISCLOSURE NOTICE: The information contained in this release is as of April 4, 2019. Pfizer assumes no obligation to update forward-looking statements contained in this release as the result of new information or future events or developments.
This release contains forward-looking information about the expansion of the indication for Ibrance (palbociclib) in combination with an aromatase inhibitor or fulvestrant to include men with hormone receptor-positive (HR+), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HER2-) advanced or metastatic breast cancer and Pfizer Oncology, including their potential benefits, that involves substantial risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. Risks and uncertainties include, among other things, uncertainties regarding the commercial success of Ibrance; the uncertainties inherent in research and development, including the ability to meet anticipated clinical endpoints, commencement and/or completion dates for our clinical trials, regulatory submission dates, regulatory approval dates and/or launch dates, as well as the possibility of unfavorable new clinical data and further analyses of existing clinical data; the risk that clinical trial data are subject to differing interpretations and assessments by regulatory authorities; whether regulatory authorities will be satisfied with the design of and results from our clinical studies; whether and when any drug applications may be filed in any other jurisdictions for Ibrance, for any additional indications for Ibrance or for any other oncology products; whether and when any such applications may be approved by regulatory authorities, which will depend on myriad factors, including making a determination as to whether the product’s benefits outweigh its known risks and determination of the product’s efficacy, and, if approved, whether Ibrance or any such other oncology products will be commercially successful; decisions by regulatory authorities impacting labeling, safety, manufacturing processes and/or other matters that could affect the availability or commercial potential of Ibrance or any other oncology products; and competitive developments.
A further description of risks and uncertainties can be found in Pfizer’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018 and in its subsequent reports on Form 10-Q, including in the sections thereof captioned “Risk Factors” and “Forward-Looking Information and Factors That May Affect Future Results,” as well as in its subsequent reports on Form 8-K, all of which are filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and available at www.sec.gov and www.pfizer.com.
1 FDA: Real World Evidence. https://www.fda.gov/scienceresearch/specialtopics/realworldevidence/default.htm. Accessed March 5, 2019.
2 American Cancer Society. Key statistics for breast cancer in men. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer-in-men/about/key-statistics.html. Accessed March 20, 2019.
3 FDA: 21st Century Cures Act. https://www.fda.gov/regulatoryinformation/lawsenforcedbyfda/significantamendmentstothefdcact/21stcenturycuresact/default.htm. Accessed March 5, 2019.
4 FDA: Real World Evidence. https://www.fda.gov/ScienceResearch/SpecialTopics/RealWorldEvidence/default.htm. Accessed March 5, 2019.
March 27, 2019 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Jatenzo (testosterone undecanoate), an oral testosterone capsule to treat men with certain forms of hypogonadism. These men have low testosterone levels due to specific medical conditions, such as genetic disorders like Klinefelter syndrome or tumors that have damaged the pituitary gland. Jatenzo should not be used to treat men with “age-related hypogonadism,” in which testosterone levels decline due to aging, even if these men have symptoms that appear to be related to low testosterone. Jatenzo’s benefits do not outweigh its risks for that use.
“Jatenzo’s oral route of administration provides an important addition to current treatment options available for men with certain hypogonadal conditions who up until now have most commonly been treated with testosterone products that are applied to the skin or injected,” said Hylton V. Joffe, M.D, M.M.Sc., director of the Division of Bone, Reproductive and Urologic Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “But it’s important to emphasize that this drug should not, like other testosterone treatments, be used to treat older men with ‘age-related hypogonadism.’ The benefits of testosterone therapy, including Jatenzo, have not been established for this use, and Jatenzo’s effects on raising blood pressure can increase the risks of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death in this population.”
The efficacy of Jatenzo was demonstrated in a four-month clinical trial involving 166 men with hypogonadism. Study participants initially were given Jatenzo at a dose of 237 mg twice per day, and the dose was adjusted downward or upward to a maximum of 396 mg twice per day on the basis of testosterone levels. Eighty-seven percent of Jatenzo-treated men achieved an average testosterone level within the normal range, which was the primary study endpoint.
Jatenzo contains a boxed warning on its labeling stating that the drug can cause blood pressure to rise, increasing the risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death. Health care providers should consider a patient’s individual heart disease risks and ensure that blood pressure is adequately controlled before prescribing Jatenzo; they should also periodically monitor patient blood pressure during treatment. Jatenzo is currently one of two testosterone products that have this boxed warning. The FDA is requiring all testosterone product manufacturers to conduct blood pressure postmarketing trials to more clearly address whether these products increase blood pressure.
Common side effects, occurring in more than 2 percent of patients in the Jatenzo clinical trial, included headache, an increase in hematocrit (red blood cell count), a decrease in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (“good” cholesterol), high blood pressure and nausea. An increase in prostate specific antigen (PSA) was also observed. Patients should have their hematocrit, cholesterol and PSA monitored regularly to check for changes. Those with benign prostate hyperplasia should be monitored for worsening of symptoms.
The FDA granted the approval of Jatenzo to Clarus Therapeutics.
March 19, 2019 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Zulresso (brexanolone) injection for intravenous (IV) use for the treatment of postpartum depression (PPD) in adult women. This is the first drug approved by the FDA specifically for PPD.
“Postpartum depression is a serious condition that, when severe, can be life-threatening. Women may experience thoughts about harming themselves or harming their child. Postpartum depression can also interfere with the maternal-infant bond. This approval marks the first time a drug has been specifically approved to treat postpartum depression, providing an important new treatment option,” said Tiffany Farchione, M.D., acting director of the Division of Psychiatry Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Because of concerns about serious risks, including excessive sedation or sudden loss of consciousness during administration, Zulresso has been approved with a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) and is only available to patients through a restricted distribution program at certified health care facilities where the health care provider can carefully monitor the patient.”
PPD is a major depressive episode that occurs following childbirth, although symptoms can start during pregnancy. As with other forms of depression, it is characterized by sadness and/or loss of interest in activities that one used to enjoy and a decreased ability to feel pleasure (anhedonia) and may present with symptoms such as cognitive impairment, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, or suicidal ideation.
Zulresso will be available only through a restricted program called the Zulresso REMS Program that requires the drug be administered by a health care provider in a certified health care facility. The REMS requires that patients be enrolled in the program prior to administration of the drug. Zulresso is administered as a continuous IV infusion over a total of 60 hours (2.5 days). Because of the risk of serious harm due to the sudden loss of consciousness, patients must be monitored for excessive sedation and sudden loss of consciousness and have continuous pulse oximetry monitoring (monitors oxygen levels in the blood). While receiving the infusion, patients must be accompanied during interactions with their child(ren). The need for these steps is addressed in a Boxed Warning in the drug’s prescribing information. Patients will be counseled on the risks of Zulresso treatment and instructed that they must be monitored for these effects at a health care facility for the entire 60 hours of infusion. Patients should not drive, operate machinery, or do other dangerous activities until feelings of sleepiness from the treatment have completely gone away.
The efficacy of Zulresso was shown in two clinical studies in participants who received a 60-hour continuous intravenous infusion of Zulresso or placebo and were then followed for four weeks. One study included patients with severe PPD and the other included patients with moderate PPD. The primary measure in the study was the mean change from baseline in depressive symptoms as measured by a depression rating scale. In both placebo controlled studies, Zulresso demonstrated superiority to placebo in improvement of depressive symptoms at the end of the first infusion. The improvement in depression was also observed at the end of the 30-day follow-up period.
The most common adverse reactions reported by patients treated with Zulresso in clinical trials include sleepiness, dry mouth, loss of consciousness and flushing. Health care providers should consider changing the therapeutic regimen, including discontinuing Zulresso in patients whose PPD becomes worse or who experience emergent suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
The FDA granted this application Priority Review and Breakthrough Therapy designation.
Approval of Zulresso was granted to Sage Therapeutics, Inc.
March 5, 2019 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Spravato (esketamine) nasal spray, in conjunction with an oral antidepressant, for the treatment of depression in adults who have tried other antidepressant medicines but have not benefited from them (treatment-resistant depression). Because of the risk of serious adverse outcomes resulting from sedation and dissociation caused by Spravato administration, and the potential for abuse and misuse of the drug, it is only available through a restricted distribution system, under a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS).
“There has been a long-standing need for additional effective treatments for treatment-resistant depression, a serious and life-threatening condition,” said Tiffany Farchione, M.D., acting director of the Division of Psychiatry Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Controlled clinical trials that studied the safety and efficacy of this drug, along with careful review through the FDA’s drug approval process including a robust discussion with our external advisory committees, were important to our decision to approve this treatment. Because of safey concerns, the drug will only be available through a restricted distribution system and it must be administered in a certified medical office where the health care provider can monitor the patient.”
Patients with major depressive disorder who, despite trying at least two antidepressant treatments given at adequate doses for an adequate duration in the current episode, have not responded to treatment are considered to have treatment-resistant depression.
The Spravato labeling contains a Boxed Warning that cautions that patients are at risk for sedation and difficulty with attention, judgment and thinking (dissociation), abuse and misuse, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors after administration of the drug. Because of the risk of sedation and dissociation, patients must be monitored by a health care provider for at least two hours after receiving their Spravato dose. The REMS requires the prescriber and the patient to both sign a Patient Enrollment Form that clearly states that the patient understands they should make arrangements to safely leave the health care setting to get home and that the patient should not drive or use heavy machinery for the rest of the day on which they receved the drug. Additionally, Spravato must be dispensed with a patient Medication Guide that outlines the drug’s uses and risks. The patient self-administers Spravato nasal spray under the supervision of a health care provider in a certified doctor’s office or clinic, and the spray cannot be taken home. The health care provider will instruct the patient on how to operate the nasal spray device. During and after each use of the nasal spray device, the health care provider will check the patient and determine when the patient is ready to leave.
The efficacy of Spravato was evaluated in three short-term (four-week) clinical trials and one longer-term maintenance-of-effect trial. In the three short-term studies, patients were randomized to receive Spravato or a placebo nasal spray. In light of the serious nature of treatment-resistant depresison and the need for patients to receive some form of treatment, all patients in these studies started a new oral antidepressant at the time of randomization and the new antidepressant was continued throughout the trials. The primary efficacy measure was the change from baseline on a scale used to assess the severity of depressive symptoms. In one of the short-term studies, Spravato nasal spray demonstrated statistically significant effect compared to placebo on the severity of depression, and some effect was seen within two days. The two other short-term trials did not meet the pre-specified statistical tests for demonstrating effectiveness. In the longer-term maintenance-of-effect trial, patients in stable remission or with stable response who continued treatment with Spravato plus an oral antidepressant experienced a statistically significantly longer time to relapse of depressive symptoms than patients on placebo nasal spray plus an oral antidepressant.
The most common side effects experienced by patients treated with Spravato in the clinical trials were disassociation, dizziness, nausea, sedation, vertigo, decreased feeling or sensitivity (hypoesthesia), anxiety, lethargy, increased blood pressure, vomiting and feeling drunk.
Patients with unstable or poorly controlled hypertension or pre-existing aneurysmal vascular disorders may be at increased risk for adverse cardiovascular or cerebrovascular effects. Spravato may impair attention, judgment, thinking, reaction speed and motor skills. Patients should not drive or operate machinery until the next day after a restful sleep. Spravato may cause fetal harm and women of reproductive potential should consider pregnancy planning and prevention; women should not breastfeed while being treated.
Esketamine is the s-enantiomer of ketamine. Ketamine is a mixture of two enantiomers (mirror image molecules). This is the first FDA approval of esketamine for any use. The FDA approved ketamine (Ketalar) in 1970.
The FDA granted this application Fast Track and Breakthrough Therapy designations.
The FDA granted the approval of Spravato to Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
STAMFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE) March 01, 2019 –Adlon Therapeutics L.P., a subsidiary of Purdue Pharma L.P., announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Adhansia XR (methylphenidate hydrochloride) extended-release capsules CII, a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, for the treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in patients six years and older. In a simulated Adult Workplace Environment (AWE) study, Adhansia XR demonstrated statistically significant improvement over placebo at 1, 2, 5, 8, 11, and 16 hours post-dose, but not at hour 14 post-dose.1
“Methylphenidate medications, when used as prescribed and in conjunction with behavioral therapy and lifestyle interventions, are one of the preferred first-line treatments for certain patients diagnosed with ADHD,” said Marcelo Bigal, MD, PhD, chief medical officer, Purdue Pharma, and general manager, Adlon Therapeutics. “We are pleased to receive FDA approval for Adhansia XR, a new option for appropriate patients with ADHD who may benefit from a treatment with efficacy demonstrated at one hour and 16 hours post-dose in adults, and we look forward to making it available later this year.”
The Full Prescribing Information for Adhansia XR contains a boxed warning for abuse and dependence. CNS stimulants, including Adhansia XR, other methylphenidate-containing products, and amphetamines have a high potential for abuse and dependence. Healthcare professionals should assess the risk of abuse prior to prescribing Adhansia XR and monitor for signs of abuse and dependence while patients are on therapy.
“Some of my patients with ADHD, especially those who are balancing school or work and participating in social or civic activities, require the ability to sustain attention throughout the day,” said Andrew J. Cutler, MD, chief medical officer, Meridien Research, and an investigator on Adhansia XR clinical studies. “The approval of Adhansia XR offers a methylphenidate treatment option with a longer duration of efficacy, which may be appropriate for these patients.”
Adhansia XR is not appropriate for all patients, and healthcare professionals should work with their patients to determine the most appropriate treatment option. Additionally, Adhansia XR is contraindicated in patients with a known hypersensitivity to methylphenidate or product components, as well as patients receiving concurrent treatment with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) or who have used an MAOI within the preceding 14 days.
The Full Prescribing Information for Adhansia XR, including Boxed Warning, is available at this link. Additionally, please see Important Safety Information for Adhansia XR below, including the Boxed Warning, Contraindications, Warnings and Precautions including the potential for abuse and dependence, serious cardiovascular events, blood pressure and heart rate increases, psychiatric adverse reactions, priapism, peripheral vasculopathy, long-term suppression of growth, allergic-type reactions, and Adverse Reactions.
“ADHD affects a significant number of adolescents and adults and, when not optimally treated, can negatively impact various aspects of their lives. A subset of these patients experience impairment throughout the day. While Adhansia XR is not appropriate for all patients, a methylphenidate medication available in a single daily dose that, in adults, demonstrated efficacy at one hour and at 16 hours post-dose, has the potential to address the needs of certain individuals with ADHD,” said Craig Landau, MD, president and CEO, Purdue Pharma. “We are committed to providing information on safe prescribing practices for this medication and initiatives to support the responsible use, storage, and disposal of all medications in this class.”
The FDA approval of Adhansia XR was based on four clinical studies evaluating the efficacy and safety of Adhansia XR in patients who met DSM-5 criteria for ADHD. Eight hundred and eighty-three (883) patients were exposed to Adhansia XR during 1- to 4-week long, controlled treatment periods (434 adult patients and 449 pediatric patients [156 (6 to 12 years); 293 (12 to 17 years)] from two clinical studies in adults, one analog classroom trial over a 13-hour study day in pediatric patients ages 6 to 12 years, and one safety and efficacy study in pediatric patients ages 12 to 17 years). The safety data for adult patients are based on two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies in doses of 25 mg to 100 mg per day. The safety data for pediatric patients (6 to 17 years) are based on randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies in doses of 25 mg to 85 mg per day.1
A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover AWE study evaluated Adhansia XR in adult patients with ADHD. Efficacy assessments were conducted at pre-dose and 1, 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, and 16 hours post-dose. The primary endpoint was the mean Permanent Measure of Performance Total scores (PERMP-T), averaged across all time points compared to placebo. PERMP-T, an objective, validated skill-adjusted math test, is the combined score obtained by adding PERMP-A (number of math problems attempted) and PERMP-C (number of math problems answered correctly).1
While receiving Adhansia XR, adults achieved statistically significant improvement over placebo, achieving greater mean PERMP-T scores averaged across all time points on the AWE days (post-dose score of 281.3 vs. 254.5; difference of 26.80, 95% CI [15.19, 38.41]). The secondary efficacy endpoints were onset and duration of clinical effect, as assessed by the treatment difference in PERMP-T scores at post-dose time points. Adhansia XR demonstrated statistically significant improvement over placebo at 1, 2, 5, 8, 11, and 16 hours post-dose, but not at hour 14 post-dose.1
In this study, 10% of Adhansia XR-treated patients discontinued due to adverse reactions compared to 0% of placebo-treated patients. The following adverse reactions led to discontinuation at a frequency of 2% of Adhansia XR-treated patients: nausea, bronchitis, viral gastroenteritis, viral infection, increased blood pressure, and hypomania.1
Sudden death, stroke and myocardial infarction have occurred in patients treated with CNS stimulants at recommended doses. Additional information about serious cardiovascular risks can be found in the Important Safety Information section below.
Adhansia XR will be available in six capsule strengths (25, 35, 45, 55, 70, and 85 mg), allowing for flexible dosing. The recommended starting dose of Adhansia XR for patients six years or older is 25 mg once daily. Healthcare professionals should titrate the dose in increments of 10 mg to 15 mg at intervals of no less than five days. Adhansia XR should be taken orally once daily in the morning, with or without food. Capsules may be taken whole or, for patients who have difficulty swallowing, capsules may be opened and the entire contents sprinkled onto a tablespoon of applesauce or yogurt. The entire mixture should be consumed without crushing or chewing, immediately or within 10 minutes. If the mixture is not consumed within 10 minutes after mixing, it should be discarded and not stored. The dose of a single capsule should not be divided and patients should not take anything less than one capsule per day. In the event of a missed dose, patients should not take their medication later in the day.1
Prior to initiating treatment with Adhansia XR, healthcare professionals should also assess for the presence of cardiac disease (i.e., perform a careful history, family history of sudden death or ventricular arrhythmia, and physical exam). Healthcare professionals should assess the risk of abuse prior to prescribing Adhansia XR and monitor for signs of abuse and dependence while patients are on therapy. After prescribing and while patients are on therapy, healthcare professionals should maintain careful prescription records, educate patients and their families about abuse and proper storage and disposal of CNS stimulants, and periodically re-evaluate the need for Adhansia XR use.1
Dosages above 85 mg daily in adults and 70 mg and above daily in pediatric patients are associated with disproportionate increases in the incidence of certain adverse reactions. If paradoxical aggravation of symptoms or other adverse reactions occur, healthcare professionals should reduce the dosage, or, if necessary, discontinue treatment with Adhansia XR. Treatment with Adhansia XR should also be periodically discontinued to assess the patient’s condition. If improvement is not observed in a patient after appropriate dosage adjustment over a one-month period, healthcare providers should discontinue treatment with Adhansia XR.1 Healthcare professionals should refer to the Full Prescribing Information for additional Dosage and Administration information.
Prescription stimulants, which include methylphenidate, the active ingredient in Adhansia XR, are federally controlled substances (CII) and have a high potential for abuse and dependence.1,2 The selling or giving away of methylphenidate medications may harm others or lead to death, and is against the law.1,3 It is important for healthcare professionals to ask patients if they or a family member have ever misused prescription medicines or abused alcohol or street drugs.1,4 Patients should be counseled that they should not give Adhansia XR to anyone else, and to keep methylphenidate medications in a safe place, such as a locked cabinet, to help prevent accidental exposure, diversion, and abuse.1,5 They should also be advised to dispose of remaining, unused, or expired Adhansia XR by a medicine take-back program at authorized collection sites such as pharmacies or law enforcement locations, if available.1,6 If no take-back program or authorized collector is available, patients should mix Adhansia XR with an undesirable, nontoxic substance to make it less appealing to children and pets, place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag, and discard of it in the household trash.1 Patients should be encouraged to read the Medication Guide that accompanies their stimulant prescription, which contains the most important FDA-approved information that a patient should know about the medication.7
According to the National Institute of Mental Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, medications for ADHD should be used as a part of a total treatment program that may include psychotherapy, education or training, or a combination of treatments.8,9 Only a healthcare professional can diagnose ADHD, and diagnosis requires a comprehensive patient evaluation. Diagnostic criteria is provided in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth edition (DSM-5).10
Please see Important Safety Information, including Boxed Warning, Warnings & Precautions, and Adverse Reactions below.
WARNING: ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE
CNS stimulants, including ADHANSIA XR, other methylphenidate-containing products, and amphetamines, have a high potential for abuse and dependence. Assess the risk of abuse prior to prescribing, and monitor for signs of abuse and dependence while on therapy.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Adhansia XR is contraindicated in patients with a known hypersensitivity to methylphenidate or other components of Adhansia XR. Hypersensitivity reactions such as angioedema and anaphylactic reactions have been reported in patients treated with other methylphenidate products. Adhansia XR is also contraindicated in patients receiving concomitant treatment with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), and also within 14 days following discontinuation of treatment with a MAOI, because of the risk of hypertensive crisis.
WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS
Potential for Abuse and Dependence
CNS stimulants, including Adhansia XR, other methylphenidate-containing products, and amphetamines, have a high potential for abuse and dependence. Assess the risk of abuse prior to prescribing, and monitor for signs of abuse and dependence while on therapy.
Serious Cardiovascular Events
Sudden death, stroke and myocardial infarction have occurred in adults treated with CNS stimulant treatment at recommended doses. Sudden death has occurred in pediatric patients with structural cardiac abnormalities and other serious cardiac problems taking CNS stimulants at recommended doses for ADHD. Avoid use in patients with known structural cardiac abnormalities, cardiomyopathy, serious heart arrhythmia, coronary artery disease, and other serious heart problems. Further evaluate patients who develop exertional chest pain, unexplained syncope, or arrhythmias during treatment during Adhansia XR treatment.
Blood Pressure and Heart Rate Increases
CNS stimulants cause an increase in blood pressure (mean increase approximately 2 to 4 mmHg) and heart rate (mean increase approximately 3 to 6 bpm). Individuals may have larger increases. Monitor all patients for hypertension and tachycardia.
Psychiatric Adverse Reactions
CNS stimulants may exacerbate symptoms of behavior disturbance and thought disorder in patients with a pre-existing psychotic disorder.
CNS stimulants may induce a manic or mixed episode in patients. Prior to initiating treatment, screen patients for risk factors for developing a manic episode (e.g., comorbid or history of depressive symptoms or a family history of suicide, bipolar disorder, or depression).
CNS stimulants, at recommended doses, may cause psychotic or manic symptoms (e.g., hallucinations, delusional thinking, or mania) in patients without a prior history of psychotic illness or mania. If such symptoms occur, consider discontinuing Adhansia XR. In a pooled analysis of multiple short-term, placebo-controlled studies of CNS stimulants, psychotic or manic symptoms occurred in approximately 0.1% of CNS stimulant-treated patients, compared to 0% in placebo-treated patients.
Prolonged and painful erections, sometimes requiring surgical intervention, have been reported with methylphenidate products, in both pediatric and adult patients. Priapism was not reported with drug initiation but developed after some time on the drug, often subsequent to an increase in dose. Priapism has also appeared during a period of drug withdrawal (drug holidays or during discontinuation). Patients who develop abnormally sustained or frequent and painful erections should seek immediate medical attention.
Peripheral Vasculopathy, including Raynaud’s Phenomenon
CNS stimulants, including Adhansia XR, used to treat ADHD are associated with peripheral vasculopathy, including Raynaud’s phenomenon. Signs and symptoms are usually intermittent and mild; however, very rare sequelae include digital ulceration and/or soft tissue breakdown. Effects of peripheral vasculopathy, including Raynaud’s phenomenon, were observed in post-marketing reports at different times and at therapeutic doses in all age groups throughout the course of treatment. Signs and symptoms generally improve after reduction in dose or discontinuation of drug. Careful observation for digital changes is necessary during treatment with ADHD stimulants. Further clinical evaluation (e.g., rheumatology referral) may be appropriate for certain patients.
Long-Term Suppression of Growth
CNS stimulants have been associated with weight loss and slowing of growth rate in pediatric patients. Careful follow-up of weight and height in pediatric patients ages 7 to 10 years who were randomized to either methylphenidate or non-medication treatment groups over 14 months, as well as in naturalistic subgroups of newly methylphenidate-treated and non-medication treated pediatric patients over 36 months (to the ages of 10 to 13 years), suggests that consistently medicated pediatric patients (i.e., treatment for 7 days per week throughout the year) have a temporary slowing in growth rate (on average, a total of about 2 cm less growth in height and 2.7 kg less growth in weight over 3 years), without evidence of growth rebound during this period of development.
Closely monitor growth (weight and height) in pediatric patients treated with CNS stimulants, including Adhansia XR. Patients who are not growing or gaining height or weight as expected may need to have their treatment interrupted.
Allergic-Type Reactions FD&C Yellow No. 5
Adhansia XR 45 mg capsules contain FD&C Yellow No. 5 (tartrazine) which may cause allergic-type reactions (including bronchial asthma) in certain susceptible persons. Although the overall incidence of FD&C Yellow No. 5 (tartrazine) sensitivity in the general population is low, it is frequently seen in patients who also have aspirin hypersensitivity.
The most common (≥5% and twice the rate of placebo) adverse reactions occurring with Adhansia XR in adults are insomnia, dry mouth, and decreased appetite.
The most common (≥5% and twice the rate of placebo) adverse reactions occurring with Adhansia XR in pediatric patients are decreased appetite, insomnia, and decreased weight.
PREGNANCY EXPOSURE REGISTRY
There is a pregnancy exposure registry that monitors pregnancy outcomes in women exposed to Adhansia XR during pregnancy. Healthcare providers are encouraged to register patients by calling the National Pregnancy Registry for Psychostimulants at 1-866-961-2388.
Please read the Full Prescribing Information, including Boxed Warning.
To report SUSPECTED ADVERSE REACTIONS, contact Purdue Pharma at 1-888-726-7535; or the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
Prescription Medications: Risks of Addiction, Misuse, Abuse, and Diversion
For information on addiction, misuse, abuse, and diversion of prescription medications, please visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease that can last a lifetime and lead to death, and requires treatment. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) confidential and anonymous Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator can be accessed here, and their free and confidential National Helpline can be reached through 1-800-662-HELP (4357) and 1-800-487-4889 (TTY).
About Adhansia XR
Adhansia XR was developed by Purdue Pharma (Canada). The medication was granted marketing authorization from Health Canada in December 2017 and is currently marketed in Canada as FOQUEST™ for the treatment of ADHD in adults.11
Adhansia XR capsules contain multilayered beads, which are composed of an immediate-release layer which contains approximately 20 percent of the methylphenidate dose, and a controlled-release layer which contains approximately 80 percent of the methylphenidate dose, for oral administration.1 The MLR® (multi-layer release) technology is a controlled-release delivery system patented by Purdue Pharma.
Adhansia XR will be commercialized by Adlon Therapeutics, a subsidiary of Purdue Pharma L.P.
About Adlon Therapeutics L.P.
Adlon Therapeutics L.P. is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to developing and providing treatment options for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and related disorders. Our initial focus is on adults and adolescents who have been diagnosed with ADHD. Adlon is a subsidiary of Purdue Pharma L.P. For more information, please visit www.adlontherapeutics.com.
1 Purdue Pharma L.P. Adhansia XR Full Prescribing Information. Feb 2019. Accessed Mar 1, 2019. Retrieved from http://app.adlontherapeutics.com/adhansia-xr/fpi.pdf.
2 United States Drug Enforcement Administration. Drug Scheduling. Accessed Jan 2, 2019. Retrieved from https://www.dea.gov/drug-scheduling.
3 Legal Information Institute. 21 U.S. Code § 829 – Prescriptions. Accessed Jan 4, 2019. Retrieved from https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/21/829.
4 National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Drug Abuse. Research Report Series: Prescription Drug Abuse. Revised October 2011. Accessed Jan 11, 2019. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/rxreportfinalprint.pdf.
5 Rannazzisi JT and Caverly MW. United States Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, Office of Diversion Control. Practitioner’s manual: an informational outline of the Controlled Substances Act. 2006. Accessed Jan 2, 2019. Accessed Jan 2, 2019. Retrieved from https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubs/manuals/pract/pract_manual012508.pdf.
6 National Institute on Drug Abuse. Misuse of Prescription Drugs: How can prescription drug misuse be prevented? 2018. Accessed on Jan 4, 2019. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/misuse-prescription-drugs/how-can-prescription-drug-misuse-be-prevented.
7 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Medication Guides. Page last updated: August 8, 2018. Accessed Jan 2, 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm085729.htm.
8 The National Institute of Mental Health Information Resource Center, National Institute of Mental Health. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Page last updated March 2016. Accessed Jan 2, 2019. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/index.shtml.
9 Division of Human Development and Disability, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Page last updated September 2018. Accessed Jan 2, 2019. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/treatment.html.
10 American Psychiatric Association. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. In Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing; 2013.
11 Purdue Pharma (Canada). Foquest Product Monograph. Dec 5, 2017. Accessed Feb 19, 2019. Retrieved from http://purdue.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Foquest-PM-EN.pdf.